back to article 'Ragtag' Russian army shows the new face of DDoS attacks

In late April, a Russian-speaking blogger upset with recent events in Estonia posted a series of dispatches calling on like-minded people to attack government servers in that country. "They're really fascists," the user, who went by the name of VolchenoK, wrote of Estonian government officials, according to this translation. " …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Russian or rather Israeli?

    What you haven't translated is that the site where the post appeared belonged to Russian-speaking Israeli youths:

    Коротко о Сайте (Briefly about the Site)


    На сегодняшний день мы являемся местом встречи русской израильской молодежи и всех тех кому интерестно общение с нами.

    (For today we appear to be a meeting place for Russian Israeli youths and all who are interested in communicating with us)

    This explains a lot about the attack (provided that these guys were the real source of the traffic, not a botnet). For these readers who are not familiar - millions of Jews from the Eastern Europe perished in Holocaust and some Estonian nationalists actively collaborated with the Nazis in capturing and deporting Jews to death camps. So the reaction of the young guy from Israel was at least understandable when a monument of Soviet soldiers (a symbolic grave) was removed by the Estonian nationalists. Whether a DDoS attack was the most appropriate reaction is another issue.

    Here is the original web page with the post mentioned in the article:

    You can click on the name of the guy (VolchenoK) and read his profile even see his photos.

    Disclaimer: My family was imprisoned during the WWII by the Nazis and I was born in Poland.

  2. voshkin


    The removal of the memorial was such an insult, that it is hardly surprising that so many people decided to do the very least that they could – launch a denial of service attacks.

    In the west people are used to unbelievable acts of stupidly (mistreatment of the war veterans, removal of memorials, political correctness etc), and so have their senses worn down, in Russia, however, every single family was affected by world war II, most people had a father/uncle/grandfather who fought it in the war, most people heard firsthand accounts of the war atrocities committed by the Nazis. Most counties suffered at the hand of the Nazis; however, none has suffered as much as the former Soviet Union (from actual fighting or from starvation). – One republic of the USSR (Belarus) had as much as 40% of the population wiped out.

    Presently, the contribution of the USSR is honoured in all of the countries that took part in WWII, - even in Berlin and in Vienna there are huge memorials to the Soviet solder, and yet...

    The Baltic States were always friendly towards the Nazis, In fact, the Russian soldiers that have remained in those countries after the collapse of the USSR are banned from wearing their medals (!) whilst... wait for it... the Baltic (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia) Nazi collaborators (natives who worked with the Nazis to execute the Jews, Gypsies, and other “undesirables”) are marching on the streets of Riga and Tallinn in full Nazi uniforms, whilst the European union looks on, and does nothing.

    If that was not insult enough (and it was a huge insult) the removal of the memorial to the Soviet dead was such an insult to the Russian heart, that word cannot describe the range of emotions felt by every single Russian, and the majority of the citizens of the old Soviet Union.

    No matter the current politics, no matter the ill-feeling towards the USSR for occupation of the Baltic States after the war, - the contribution of the MILLIONS of the dead soldiers should not be moved! They died for the liberation of the world, they died from bullets, gas poisoning, starvation and torture, and they did not occupy the Baltic States. Their memory should and must not be pissed upon.

  3. Steve Ringham

    Own worst enemy.....

    Voshkin seems to skate very lightly over the numbers of Russians killed by....the Russians. Estimates of the deaths due to Stalin's purges and home economic policies vary from 4 million to 40+ million. However, recent general consensus centres around 10 - 20 million.

    This includes 6 - 8 million in the Soviet-engineered Ukraine famine of 1932-33 (which happened to coincide with a purge of the Ukrainian Communist Party).

    He also conveniently ignores the fact that the Soviet Union was the greatest collaborator of Germany from 1922 (breaking the Treaty of Versailles), up to the carve-up of Eastern Europe under the Molotov- von Ribbentrop treaty of 1939 - the point when the Baltic states started to get pissed off.

    And his logic that the Baltic states should ignore their own post-war suffering at the hands of the Soviets in favour of the Soviets' own losses is moronic and unrealistic.

    If the Baltic states want rid of reminders of their past on their sovereign ground, piss away - that is their right. They might have done it somewhat more diplomatically, but then again, the Eastern Europe approach to diplomacy can seem somewhat unsophisticated to Western minds.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    for the records: removing of corpses, nazist legacy in baltic states

    even if it looks like pouring gasoline on a fire

    it is worth noticing that - for the records - a web search

    may give several relatively balances and unbiased sources on:

    1) it was not only removing a monument but also of the

    soldier corpses associated to it

    2) in baltic states the attitude toward Nazism and own collaborators

    is somehow questionable try for example

    "Waffen-SS march riga BBC" or "Waffen-SS monument estonia BBC"

    it is true that baltic states have lot to say regarding the Soviet period,

    with good reasons, however their own records/motivation is not completly clean.

    this for the records.

  5. David Neil

    revisionist history?

    "...they did not occupy the Baltic States. "

    Actually, they did.

    The Baltic states were annexed by the Soviet Union in June 1940, which had already been agreed under the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.

    The rest of your post still stands, but please do not try and use the valid points to paint the actions of the Soviet Union as nothing more than naked opportunism during the pre-invasion period.

  6. umacf24


    Iraq is teaching us what we perhaps forgot. You can liberate somewhere until you are blue in the face, but if you don't go away afterwards, you're an oppressor.

  7. Viktor
    Dead Vulture

    I disagree

    Quote: "No matter the current politics, no matter the ill-feeling towards the USSR for occupation of the Baltic States after the war, - the contribution of the MILLIONS of the dead soldiers should not be moved! They died for the liberation of the world, they died from bullets, gas poisoning, starvation and torture, and they did not occupy the Baltic States. Their memory should and must not be pissed upon."

    There are lots of war memorials in Estonia for fallen soldiers from all sides. The particular one that was removed was a monument for "liberation of Tallinn" that never happened (there was no military presence in Tallinn. The germans had already retreated). People buried there were shot for looting, one female was raped and killed by her comrades, two were ran over by a tank (drunk comrades).

    After soviet invasion, Estonia lost roughly 20% of its population (shot, deported and/or imprisoned or escaped to west). In my family alone, there were 4 people deported and 3 shot. It's all recorded in archives and can't be denied.

    According to history books of Estonia and the rest of europe, there was an invasion. Russian policy has always been denial. I can't seem to find a connection with "liberating the world". It was more like liberating part of the world from kulak-capitalists just by shooting them in the backs of their heads.

  8. voshkin

    Steve Ringham and others:

    I did not conveniently forget the millions that died in the USSR at the hands of the communist party. My own family has suffered greatly; a lot of my relatives on my mother’s side were murdered by the Bolsheviks, in fact, only by grand-grandfather and his daughter survived, out of the extended family of dozens. Even he was later repressed, - as you can imagine, I do not look at the history of the communist party fondly. But this in no way relates to the memory of the people that actually fought, and died in the war. As I said previously, they were fighting to liberate the world, not to rape and loot, the image of the Russian soldiers painted by the latest PR complain absolutely sickens me! Whilst it is true that there were looting, I know this for a fact, may I remind you of the American behaviour in Iraq (and other places they been to) – did they loot, murder civilians or did they bring tea and biscuits?

    There were many storied regurgitated by the Baltic propaganda machines about the remains of the Russian dead, the best one that they died at that spot in a drunken car crash.

    This is by far the most annoying thing, history books are rewritten, to suite the politics of the newly liberated nations. As the old generations wither away, there will only be the “history” books to learn from, and already they spew despicable lies, in Ukraine, for example, the ultra nationals who were trained and funded by the SS and were executing Jews and the Gipsies, are now given national hero stratus by the present bellowed by the West. When he visited Israel, he had quite an uncomfortable conversation about this. But, he is adored by the west, as a true democratic leader, and bla bla bla.

    The values that at some stage seemed important are now forgotten. I get the feeling that it goes something like this:

    - They are planning a Nazi parade in Riga, should we do something?

    - Nah, no one here will care, but it will piss off the Russians, let them do it.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Well, It seems to be a holy war again...

    Point 1. Baltic States were not democratic in 1940. They were ALL ruled by dictators. Little countries, little dictators... All of thrm elect - all of them remaining after term, banning other parties, etc.

    Point 2. Majority of Estonians/Latvians/Lithuanians were at the maximum neutral in 1940 incorporation of these countries in USSR, and at most positive, especially those who were Jews.

    Point 3. A big part of them were not happy with it in 1941, though. Especially those who were rich.

    Point 4. Those who were not content, were supporting Germans.

    In fact, on 23 June 1941 (next day after German attack on USSR) the Lithuanian Council issued a decree, proclaiming full support of German liberators, and support for final decision of Jewish problem. Circa 1999 Lithuanian parliament almost unanimously voted this decree to be an official document of current Lithuanian Republic. US- educated president declined to sign this law.

    Point 5. Estonia was the first Judenfrei country in Europe (1943). Lithuania is the country which has had the lowest survival rate of Jews.

    Point 6. After war, estonians who fought on German side (ordinary soldiers) were mostly pardoned. Russians / ukrainians etc in the same situation - were sent to Siberia.

    Point 7. Current Estonia glorifies only those who have fough on the Axis side.

    It does not matter if they have taken an active part of extermination of Russian or Ukrainian population. Those who have fought on the Allies side are... well, at least regarded as enemy's collaborators.

    Well, I will stop the WW2 history lesson here.


    Point A. Majority of Russian-speaking population were neutral or supportive on Estonia's independence in 1991. But nevertheless they were deprived of citizenship.


    And the last point.

    Don't comment when you do not have an idea on the history or the situation.

  10. John Savard

    History of the Baltic Nations

    In many reputable sources of historical information, such as the _Encyclopaedia Britannica_, it is noted that the Soviet Union invaded the Baltic nations, and systematically killed the people in various positions of community leadership. This was not unlike the policy carried out by the Nazis in Poland. And, speaking of Poland, Nazi Germany and Communist Russia invaded Poland together in September of 1939; only after Hitler betrayed his ally, Stalin, by invading

    Russia on June 22, 1941, was Russia at war with the Nazis.

    Russia invaded Estonia on June 17, 1940 while Russia was an ally of Germany. Subsequently, as part of its war against Russia, Nazi Germany invaded Estonia, and was pushed out by Russian troops in 1944. As is well known, they did not liberate Estonia, they just grabbed it for Russia; instead of becoming again an independent democratic nation with free elections and a free press, they were incorporated into the Soviet Union, which, like Nazi Germany, ran prison camps for political prisoners, and which was totalitarian in that all institutions, from churches to social clubs, were run by the State.

    To draw some kind of distinction between evil Nazi Germany - and, of course, it was evil - and 'good' Communist Russia is nonsense. Russia under Stalin was another evil menace to world peace, responsible for the deaths of brave young men in Korea and Vietnam and for the heavy tax burden shouldered by the peoples of the Free World for defence during the Cold War.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The Soviets invaded the Baltic countries twice, and arguably the reason that "some" Estonians collaborated with the Nazis after the first time was that they were at that point the liberators.

    Voshkin attacks "Baltic propaganda machines" (because the West is so influenced by small Baltic states as we don't have minds of our own!), but just seems to be spouting Russian nationalistic rubbish himself. Read the start of "Berlin" by Anthony Beevor for sickening accounts, with proper historical back-up, of the Red Army's liberating ways (and also read Stalingrad for descriptions of the extreme hardships that the same army had faced a few years earlier - both are excellent books).

    I don't doubt that the Nazis were the bad guys, but the Russians were by no means angelic in their treatment of the Baltic states both during and after the war. If our American cousins had taken over our state in 1945, suppressing our great British identity (!) and only left 45 years later I'd be pissed off having a big monument stating how great they were.

  12. Justin Petrone

    Reality check

    Ok, this "controversy" wasn't really about any of the things discussed thus far. You had a war memorial located across from the national library at a bus stop where 12 corpses were reburied in 1947. That is to say that they weren't originally buried there, but that they died elsewhere in Estonia, and were buried in the center of the capital for political purposes (others have written about the Soviet "cult of the war" -- I won't address it here.

    This place became a meeting place for extremists. That much is true. there were disturbances between rightwing nationalists (skinheads) and Stalinist apologists, who will tell you the deportations of Estonian men, women, and children by the Soviets was justified, meeting and causing public disorder on this plot land holding a mass grave.

    Most of Estonia does not subscribe to either political persuasion. The state, at the highest level, condemns both Soviet and Nazi atrocities as the same. The president and prime minister have said this many times. There are memorials to concentration camps on Estonian soil and memorials to the victims of Soviet dictatorship. There are some members of political parties -- on both sides -- who do not subscribe to this interpretation, but their efforts -- such as to proclaim Estonian drafted SS members as heroes -- are largely ignored.

    The Russian media focuses on gatherings of SS veterans in Estonia to commemorate their dead, but contrary to reported above, Soviet vets gather and wear their medals too in larger numbers. Go to Narva on May 9. See the Red flags.

    To most people this argument is a distraction from real issues. So every May 9 the political discourse was hijacked by extremists who want to argue over who killed who 60+ years ago. The reality is that Estonians fought on all sides -- including Finland and for themselves -- and that occupied Estonia barely played an independent role in World War II. The reason the country was 'Judenfrei' -- was because there were only 5,000 Jews living there before the war, and most were either evacuated or killed during the Soviet occupation. The Lithuanian experience, therefore, is not the Estonian experience.

    Anyway, they moved the statue to a military cemetery where there are other such memorials and statues. Anyone who wants to commemorate the dead can go there. The hysteria over this situation is adolescent and immature. The only other solution would be to have a 24-hour police guard there or to "change the meaning of the statue" -- as the president suggested -- though I doubt that could have been successful either.

    We're all adults. Let's get over this.

  13. voshkin


    For god sakes!

    How narrow-minded can people commenting here really be?

    The memorial was not a statue of Stalin, it was not a statue depicting a random communist raping Estonia nor a portrait of the Soviet parliament flipping of the passers buy in unison. The monument did not have the words “we invaded you, ha ha losers” in 2m lettering, it was a monument to the solders that dies in the WWII. Pure and simple. The people that starved and died in the trenches, the people that had to have hand to hand combat when the bullets run out, should I go on?

    Soviet Union was defiantly not Disneyland, and I am not claiming otherwise, in fact, if certain commenters would bother to read my last post, they would see that my family suffered extensive loss, this, nevertheless does not belittle to contribution of the Soviet Union to the WWII.

    In fact, may I also remind “the west” that in UK only a handful of politicians wanted to go against Hitler, (and thankfully they succeeded) and America only joined the war when it was about to affect them. Oh, one more thing, someone urged me to read some books alleging Soviet war crimes, does it per chance list the war crimes perpetrated by other nations, or are those facts conveniently forgotten? Some atomic bombs dropped on a country after the war was over spring to mind for some reason... is this the case of yea, we (the west) can torture and humiliate prisoners, invade sovereign counties accusing the leaders of those countries of war crimes against humanity with the weapons supplied by the west, but, we are the good guys, our torture and murder is OK, it is a different kind to that perpetrated by the evil [insert whoever here]

    This remind me of the old Russian joke, that, unfortunately does not translate very well due to the little weight attached to the words used, but you should get the meaning:

    “Courageous security officers arrested a dirty foreign spy”

    Translation – there is not a single truth, it was not the case of a nice, good natured hard working people fighting a heard of filthy barbarians. No educated person can claim that the Soviet Union was 100% evil, whilst the west was 100% good. The Soviet Union was not Disneyland, and “the west” was not exactly the petting zoo.

    Western soldiers are honoured in Russia, it would not heart the west to support Russia in its rightful indignation over Nazi parades in the Baltic states, and honouring of the Nazi collaborators in Ukraine.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Easy there, Voshkin

    There is no doubt that there was plenty of suffering to go around. I have family on wife's side from Russia (the family of an Orthodox priest from Poland) that certainly could tell you a lot about what hardships are all about. The in-laws had I think 11 brothers and sisters in one family, and 1 made it back. I do think that memorials take on new meanings over time as history gets revised, but we all have to take a lot more feelings into account than just our own. I personally would rather keep our national monuments within the borders of our nation, just so that if we choose to dispose of it, it is our decision, and we as a nation have to come to an agreement before moving it, and come to terms with it after moving it.

    As an American, I am deeply offended by the lack of respect for our war dead buried in dozens of countries that cannot remember who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their sake. It was an international effort, and those who cannot remember it do not deserve the honor of having the graves of our dead in their country. But I am not going to try to justify hacking them or anything -- knowing them for the cretins they are is enough for me.

    The problem is, whether anyone likes it or not, when the monument was put up, these countries were part of the Soviet state, which they are no longer a part of. The dead they commemorate belong to a country that no longer exists, but most Russians still identify themselves as being part of it, while others want to revise history. While that is foolish, as what happened did happen, it does not diminish the honor due to the Soviet dead, but the foolishness of these times, and the tendency of politicians to say and do whatever they think will get them votes, regardless of what is right and what is wrong, wrong, wrong..

    The part that bothers me most in moving this monument is that Russian sensitivities were not taken into consideration prior to doing it, and consequently the rhetoric has gone from bad to worse over it. That's undiplomatic to say the least.

    That said, you imputed a war crime where there was none. You only have to have one army to be at war, and Japan was convinced they were still at war at the time. Those bombs were dropped *during* the war with Japan, and although they had an effect, relative to US B29 firebombing campaigns they were not as effective as might be surmised. Japan had one Giorgiy Zhukov headed towards them like a freight train out of the west, and they had the decision as to surrender to the US, or become obliterated by an enemy whose bitter grievances went back to around 1905. I hardly think Zhukov would have shown mercy, especially if casualties would have gone as high as projected. It was a no-brainer from Japan's perspective -- the nukes just gave them a face-saving way to avoid obliteration.

    Just like the Germans in the race to Berlin, Japan had a choice as to who to surrender to unconditionally, and this left them with a way out. I'm not saying that it was pleasant, or that the loss of life was wanted -- however, it weakened the resolve at the right time, and the numbers of lives saved (including Japanese) has to be nearly in the hundreds of millions. By their very nature and excellence of dedication, the Japanese weren't going to give up easily. I do not believe for a minute that any nation at war at that time would have declined the use of a war-ending weapon, and if Germany had gotten the necessary materiel to Japan in time, I certainly believe they'd have made use of it.

    So, in this history lesson, you now learn that not only US was still at war at the time, but also SSSR, as I can only assume Zhukov was operating under the authorization of his nation. It'd be hard to miss an army of that size and capability -- pretty sure Stalin knew what was going on, and people did tend to follow his orders quite well.


  15. Anonymous Coward

    That's not the point

    This article is not about the quite valid complaints of Russians, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Soviets, Finns, Poles, Germans, Swedes or any other group from the time of the Great Northern War to the present day. Arguing in small snippets of fact and propaganda (which posters might even believe is fact) will resolve nothing, shed no light and will only aggravate everyone and render this comments section useless to anyone actually seeking information on anything beyond the fact that people are very touchy when it comes to the Baltic's, World War II, Nazis, Russia and the USSR.

    What this article really tells me is that even basically restatements of general facts and conclusions regarding the organized DDoS attacks on Estonian targets earlier last year still get attention, mostly because they shocked people into thinking about botnets as a real weapon against targets beyond websites, bank accounts and gullible investors in penny stocks, and of the vulnerability of small, technology-dependent countries (Estonia is pretty wired, but other countries will eventually catch up and even surpass their current levels) to such attacks as the capability to deliver them.

    It isn't even about state action (it is tempting and sensationalistic to accuse the Russian government of being behind the attacks), much clearer cases of state-sponsored attacks from both China and Russia have made the press recently, none of which seems to have the resonance, or can get press for lesser reasons, than the Estonia story.

    So please, any comments on that, I'd love to hear them!

  16. Justin Petrone

    Politicking aside

    Look, what's a better place to honor the dead -- at a busy intersection where you have to worry about getting into a scuffle with skinheads or Russian nationalists (basically skinheads who speak Russian instead of Estonian) -- or in a military cemetery?

    Think about the old vets. They had to sit and watch their statue get slimed with red paint almost every week. Some segments of Estonian society are still quite angry. I mean out of 11 pre-war heads of state, only one did not die either in a Soviet prison camp or by execution. Those wounds are still there. Given what happened, we're all lucky that the worst thing that happens in Estonia is someone dumps some paint on a statue. Think about how the Chechens have dealt with their history.

    So in this environment, maybe the prime minister was right. Maybe he actually did those that want to honor the Soviet army a favor by letting them honor their dead in peace, instead of in this highly charged environment.

    If the Russian government had realized this, and indeed some -- Kosatchev, Zhiranovsky (!) -- did, then there would have been less of a problem. But the more conservative elements decided that they'd rather commence a propaganda war using their state-owned TV networks and Kremlin youth groups. In the end, they made everyone sympathize with Estonia even more.

    Most Estonians view the Soviets as more evil if only because the Soviets killed more of their relatives. That's all there is to it. We have been doing a family tree project with my wife -- almost everyone in that generation was touched by the war. Both of her great-grandfathers -- one Estonian, one Russian -- were arrested and sent to prison camps because they were on the Estonian/White side in WWI. Only Stalin's death saved them from their sentences.

    It's a terrible history, but it's over. But in reality this argument occurs mostly on the Internet. Why? Because World War II happened 60+ years ago, Estonia is free, and life in Estonia and Russia is good and getting better. I am a happy person. We can talk about the Great Northern War or World War II, take your pick. It's all just history.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hey Voshkin, reality check about the monument

    All war dead should be remembered. And they are. The bronze soldier is a memorial to everyone who fell in WW2.

    You talk about the monument as if it had been destroyed. Which is not true. It was relocated to a military cemetery, where all monuments belong if they are truly about commemorating the fallen. Have you actually visited the monument at its new location? I have. It's dignified and honors the war fallen respectfully.

    Instead of this, why don't you put your energy to constructive use and ask Russian Federation authorities why they are tearing down WW2 monuments to make space for parking lots and shopping malls.

  18. Anonymous Coward


    "If our American cousins had taken over our state in 1945, suppressing our great British identity (!) and only left 45 years later I'd be pissed off having a big monument stating how great they were."

    They did, and you do.

  19. no name
    Paris Hilton

    Re: the nukes just gave them (=japanese) a face-saving way to avoid obliteration.

    just to highlight what apparently looks a statement about Japanese

    finding a positive side in getting nuked - I visited a Japanese memorial

    in Japan about that and frankly speaking I think they disagree on this thesis.

    anyway, interesting post - apparently hinting at a Soviet Invasion of Japan,

    with what Navy - one might wonder, but alas the world wide web is the world

    of (in)possible.

    Ah, just a passing remark, without the defeat in Stalingrad, and more

    in general, without the failure of invasion of CCCP in Europe there

    would still be the "millenium Reich" since there is no way to imagine

    a landing in front of a fully fledged Einsatzgruppe,

    but again - why bother with reality if there is the www ?

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